Crist Vetoes Ultrasound Measure
Gov. Charlie Crist struck down a piece of Republican legislation Friday that would have required all Florida women seeking an abortion to first have an ultrasound and some of them to listen to it described, further distancing himself from his former party as he campaigns for the U.S. Senate as an independent.
Crist has hinted for more than a month that he would veto the measure (HB 1143), which would require all women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and in many cases, hear the doctor describe the sonogram. The bill also would have banned the use of public funds for abortions. Republicans and anti abortion advocates campaigned hard for the bill as recently as Thursday, when a group of women who regretted their abortions presented Crist's office with a book of personal testimony about their experiences.
Crist, who has said in the past that he is against abortion, tried to strike an even tone in his veto message saying that “personal views should not result in laws that unwisely expand the role of government and coerce people to obtain medical tests or procedures that are not medically necessary. “
“There are many medical or fiscal barriers that could be placed upon a woman in order to prevent her from following through on her constitutionally protected decision to end a pregnancy,” Crist wrote. “However, such measures do not change hearts, which is the only true and effective way to ensure a new life coming into the world is loved, cherished and receives the care that is deserved.”
The decision drew quick reaction from lawmakers in both parties from around the state, particularly from Republicans who sharply rebuked their former party leader, who broke from the GOP in late April.
“Unborn life will be destroyed at the expense of taxpayers,” said freshman state Rep. Matthew Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach. “The Governor lacks a party affiliation. Today we learned that he also lacks a moral compass.”
With the veto, Crist’s appeal to independent and Democratic voters in the U.S. Senate race improves. The latest Quinnipiac University poll showed Crist barely winning a three-way match up between former House Speaker Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, with Crist taking 37 percent of the vote, Rubio 33 percent and Meek 17 percent.
Of those surveyed, 28 percent of his supporters were Republicans, 37 percent were Democrats and 51 percent were independent.
State Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, who opposed the measure, applauded the governor's decision.
“The Legislature had no business intruding into what should be a woman’s most personal of decisions,” he said. “The bill was offensive and demeaning to women and needed to be vetoed.”